Researchers who want to publish their work in an open access psychology journal have the choice between a large number of potential outlets. Some of these outlets are well-respected, whereas others are considered predatory. However, almost all of them have in common that they take advantage of the free labor of overburdened reviewers (and often also editors). Our new journal advances.in/psychology publishes high-quality work in psychology and its various subfields and pays editors and reviewers for their work. You can support this new, sustainable publishing model by submitting your work to our open access psychology journal.
Why the publishing model of most open access psychology journals is flawed
For a long time, researchers and institutions had to buy access to their own work by paying hefty journal subscription fees. However, their research often remained inaccessible to others who could not afford to pay these fees. The open access publishing model that has been adopted by many journals, including open access journals in psychology that have achieved respectable impact factors, showed that things can be done differently. These journals publish articles openly in exchange for a one-time article publishing or processing charge (APC) paid by the authors of a given paper once it got accepted. The publication then becomes openly available to everyone.
Article Processing Charges are used primarily for financial gains
However, what started as a good idea has become yet another way for academic publishers to exploit the work of academics. Virtually all open access psychology journals still take advantage of the free work by reviewers and oftentimes even of their editors. These scholars regularly use their scarce free time to handle papers and provide reviews without economic compensation. Needless to say, a business model that takes advantage of free labor is highly profitable. As a result, many open access journals report unethical profit margins unheard of in other sectors.
Reinventing academic publishing through sustainability, transparency and openness
At Advances.in, we want to change how academic publishing is conducted. We believe it is possible to share a significant part of the publishing revenue by paying editors and reviewers for their work and still run a profitable business. With the open access psychology journal advances.in/psychology, we aim to demonstrate that it can be done.
Our model works like this: Reviewers and editors sign a consultant agreement with us. When they finish the handling and/or review of a submission to our open access psychology journal, we assess whether the quality of their work (e.g., the evaluations they provided during the peer review process) meets our minimum requirements. When their work passes this check, reviewers and editors are compensated financially for their efforts. You can read more about how our publishing model works here.
Myth 1: Paying for reviews is practically impossible.
Established academic publishers, including those of other open access psychology journals, typically come up with excuses for why it is impossible to financially compensate those who do most of the work (i.e., the editors and reviewers). The first is that it is practically impossible to handle contracts and financial transactions with a large number of scholars. This argument is surprising because academic publishers seem to have no problem signing contracts and receiving payment from hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of scholars per year.
At Advances.in, we seamlessly sign consultation agreements with our editors and reviewers who review papers submitted to our open access psychology journal. Once they finish their work and it passes our quality check, they send us an invoice that we pay them within 14 days. It does not have to be more complicated than this.
Myth 2: Paying for reviews is not economically sustainable.
A second argument is that it is financially impossible for publishers to compensate reviewers for their work. However, did you know that some open access publishers have far beyond 50% profit margins? This clearly demonstrates that it is possible to simultaneously run a fair and profitable business in academic publishing.
Myth 3: Paying for reviews compromises the quality of evaluations.
A third argument concerns the quality of the peer review process. Publishers of other traditional or open access psychology journals often argue that paying editors and reviewers for their work would lead scholars to focus on quick returns, which compromises their intrinsic motivation to deliver thorough evaluations. This is surprising, as research shows that financial rewards generally improve work performance. Concerning academic publishing, the quality of reviews provided by unpaid labor is already highly variable. There is hardly a scholar who hasn’t felt the frustration of receiving superficial and low-quality reviews of their papers.
We believe that a critical reason for the often low quality of the review process is that scholars feel less and less committed to an academic publishing model that exploits the unpaid work they often deliver in their free time to keep up with demands. Therefore, we believe that financially compensating scholars will positively affect the peer review quality, provided that the quality of reviews is regularly assessed. In all Advances.in journals, editors assess the quality of the evaluations provided by the reviewers, and internal staff evaluates the quality of the editors’ handling of a paper.
To be sure, there are valid alternatives to our publishing model. For instance, some scholars have established smaller open access journals in psychology and other fields that are entirely run by volunteers and that charge no article processing fee. However, these models are unlikely to compete with the established large-scale open access publishers as they cannot compare in growth, impact and scalability.
At Advances.in, we aim to demonstrate that it is possible to be financially profitable and run a fair and sustainable publishing business. We hope that our vision and work will inspire established and future publishers to consider implementing similar models. Ideally, authors should be able to choose from a range of open access journals in psychology that pay their editors and reviewers.
Publish in our new open access psychology journal
Our ambition is to build an innovative open access psychology journal that publishes high-quality research in psychology and its various subdisciplines, including but not limited to: clinical and health psychology, social, cultural, and community psychology, personality and individual differences, cognitive psychology and neuroscience, developmental psychology, forensic psychology, business and organizational psychology, methods, sports and rehabilitation psychology.
To ensure the high-quality peer-review process of our open access psychology journal, we have brought together a respected editorial board of esteemed scholars from some of the most reputable academic institutions in the world. Together, we aim to change how scholarly publishing is conducted.
We hope you agree that academic publishers should share parts of their revenue by financially compensating editors and reviewers. In that case, you may consider publishing your paper in open access psychology journals such as advances.in/psychology. We ensure a quick and constructive peer review by scholars who care because they feel that their time and efforts are valued and respected.